Blades look to rescue Cup tie as Bees game postponed

Sheffield United are confident their FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest on Sunday will go ahead.
Sheffield United are confident their FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest on Sunday will go ahead.
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SHEFFIELD UNITED have promised that they will look at every option available to ensure that Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated FA Cup fifth-round tie with Nottingham Forest beats the weather.

The Blades suffered disappointment for the second time in a fortnight yesterday when their League One clash with leaders Brentford was postponed, with around 90 per cent of the Bramall Lane pitch waterlogged during a 1pm inspection by Football League referee Michael Naylor.

Delegations from both clubs present at the inspection were in agreement with the decision to postpone the fixture, with a new date to be announced in due course.

The postponement followed on from the calling off of the scheduled match with Peterborough United on January 29 due to a waterlogged pitch.

It has been rearranged for Wednesday, March 4.

Four problem areas – both goalmouths, an area just in front of the dugouts and a section down the left wing heading towards the Bramall Lane stand which led to the original Posh clash falling victim to the weather – were protected this week, but the volume of rainfall that fell on the rest of the playing surface made the pitch unplayable.

Explaining the decision, Naylor said: “Unfortunately, with the heavy rainfall scheduled to last until around 3pm and then the forecasted heavy showers into the evening, we were left with no option but to call the game off.

“The pitch was probably 90 per cent waterlogged and despite the best efforts of everyone concerned, it simply wouldn’t drain in time for kick-off.

“Brentford agreed with the decision and Sheffield United did so reluctantly, but we had a number of considerations to make and the outlook wasn’t for the weather to improve sufficiently.

“We also took advice from the groundsman who knew the playing surface better than anyone and unfortunately we had to admit defeat.”

A Blades spokesperson said that the club will look at making all the necessary contingencies to ensure Sunday’s tie, which is due to kick off at 3pm, goes ahead.

The tie, which is not being screened on TV, is expected to attract a bumper attendance with Forest having sold an extra ticket allocation earlier this week – after their original batch of 4,751 tickets sold out ahead of their short trip up the MI.

The Bees’ postponement ensures another addition to the Blades’ already busy fixture calendar, with the club having to fit in at least 12 matches in a six-week period up to the end of March, a month which sees them play eight games.